Sunday 14th October 2012
For me, this was probably the most eagerly awaited Poppy concert so far. Others agreed: we sold the first ticket in June! On the night the upstairs room was full to bursting with folks waiting to hear the powerful unaccompanied harmonies of the five Teesside brothers. They didn't disappoint, and gave us two long sets with some of their best songs, including: John Barleycorn; Young Banker; Byker Hill; Graham Miles's Running Fox, Sea Coal and Yarm Fair; and my favourite Wilsons song 'Big Steamers' (Rudyard Kipling's words set to music by Peter Bellamy). They finished the first half with the rousing gospel song 'When I Die'; and the second with Alex Glasgow's emotional 'Close the Coalhouse Door' - before being called back twice for more! The concert's final, final, song - the Miners' Lifeguard - had the roof lifting off the pub. Fantastic singing!
With such a great concert we were spoiled for choice for excellent floor singers to start each half. Thanks to Dick Stevens for opening the show and to GU4 for starting the second half.
After the concert we rearranged the furniture for the traditional Poppy post-concert sing and music session. We were blessed with a great range of excellent singers and musicians staying for the session, and had songs from Ann Wilson (a lovely version of Bay of Biscay); Ally and Juliet (Richard Thompson's 'Strange Affair'); Marc Block (a track from his soon-to-be-released first CD!); Grand Union regulars Bill, Pete, Karen, Ed, Alan and Lyn; Chris Nixon; Laurence Leith; the Poppy's Dave, Phil and Julie; and more… Tunes from Jim Helliwell and Claire completed the night in fine style.
A really excellent night!